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Rossi says F1 will take a backseat

Valentino Rossi, todayValentino Rossi has claimed that his Formula One efforts will take a backseat for a while now that the new MotoGP season is just around the corner.

Although Rossi impressed Ferrari team management with his recent run at Valencia in Spain, prompting further speculation that he could land a drive at the team in 2007, he has played down talk that his focus is slipping away from motorbikes.

Speaking at the launch of his Camel Yamaha team in Milan on Monday, Rossi made it clear that he was completely concentrated on defending his title on two-wheels.

"Formula One has always taken a backseat, especially now that we're close [to the new MotoGP season], absolutely," he said.

Rossi is clearly undecided about his future plans, and the fact that he will take care of development of Yamaha's 2007 bike, which will feature an 800cc engine, indicates that he is definitely not ruling out remaining in motorbike racing.

However, when asked by reporters whether an unsuccessful defence of his bike title would be a good enough reason to remain in MotoGP, Rossi said: "No."

Rossi is likely to test again for Ferrari this year, as the team continue to evaluate his potential if they need to find a replacement for Michael Schumacher.

But the Italian has made it clear that he has no problem switching between cars and bikes - and that his racing activities are not suffering at all from his F1 try-outs.

"This is one of the things I long thought about before deciding to try the car, but there is absolutely no problem," he explained. "You could even run on the same day in the car and on the bike because they are so different...The car is driven in a completely different way on totally different racing lines.

"The important things to be quick are completely different compared to bikes. In fact, when I went to Valencia to test in Formula One, the next day I went to Qatar [to test the bike] and after five laps I went quicker than in my fastest lap of [last year's] race, so there's certainly no problem.

"Yamaha has given me the chance to test because they know there won't be any repercussions on my effort on bikes, neither in tests nor in the upcoming season, which is certainly the most important thing for me."

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